The summer of 2012 will remain memorable for me for many reasons: the triumphant Olympics, volunteering at the Paralympics and my Grant Thornton summer internship. Nearly two years later, it is not the events of the Olympics themselves that are often splashed across the pages of newspapers but whether they have made a difference – the Olympic legacy. This idea of a legacy made me think about my own internship – how have I utilised the legacy of my internship? What have been the benefits of joining the firm part way through university?
Firstly, I now work at Grant Thornton! At the end of my internship I was thrilled to be offered a graduate position to join the Sheffield office in the audit department in August 2013, after completing the final year of my degree. I have found that the benefits of having signed a contract for a graduate job at the end of my penultimate year of university are certainly not to be underestimated. Imagine being able to enjoy the final year of university without any of the time commitments and stress that job applications carry; I think this is a real luxury for few finalists. Moreover, in terms of actually securing the graduate role from an internship, summer interns and placement students are considered first for graduate roles, ahead of all other applicants. You could say that this is the best queue-jump you could ever wish for!
With the extra time that I gained from not completing job applications, I spent a few hours per week promoting Grant Thornton to my fellow students at Durham University and earning some money… As a campus ambassador. The role of campus ambassador is open to ex-summer interns and placement students for their final year back at university to encourage other students to consider the fantastic Grant Thornton programmes. I thoroughly enjoyed being an ambassador and I loved talking about my experience as a summer intern to other students at our pizza and cocktail nights and careers fairs. I learnt a lot about the Grant Thornton brand, about organising events and coming up with new ideas for engaging students. Last but certainly not least, I received a free limited edition Grant Thornton hoody, mug and several pens! Due to my experience as a campus ambassador, I have continued to help with recruitment events in Durham since joining as a graduate, which are always really fun and add another dimension to my work in audit.
I also found that the skills I learnt during my internship were relevant to my work at university. During my internship I went on a two day course at Bradenham (our dedicated training centre in the form of a country manor) on giving presentations, facilitated by some of Grant Thornton’s experienced people. During this course I gained so much confidence in public speaking and learnt so much about the content and style of presenting that my marks for all my university presentations significantly improved. Not bad for a two day course!
Finally, on joining as a new graduate, I didn’t feel those first day nerves that were present on the first day of my internship. I knew most people in the office already, I knew how most of the systems worked and I knew a few basics of doing an audit. I also knew that this was the job I wanted – as much as an internship is about trying to secure a graduate position it is also a way for you to decide whether a career in accountancy is the right one for you.
So, to sum up, I think the benefits of my internship have been significant and long-lasting. I would urge all university students to consider the summer internship as a valuable route into a career at Grant Thornton. Why wait to graduate to find a job when it is quite possible to secure one a year early? Beyond the great experience of the internship itself, I believe the summer internship provides the perfect springboard to launch a graduate career.